Student Finance: A Complete How-to-Apply Guide

Student Finance
graduation cap and cash roll, closeup

If you are low on income or disabled and need to borrow money for your university or college fees. This article will help you understand everything you need to know about student finance (that includes student grants and loans).

It also involves students who have started but don’t have enough funds to continue. There is a way out!

What is Student Finance?

Image Credit: TimesHigherEducation

Student finance is a type of loan or grant that helps students pay the fees for their university or college. These fees specifically include tuition, the cost of living, accommodations, books, etc. Basically, the type of financing (for grants and loans) determines the expenses it will cover. On the other hand, their interest rate (for loans) also differs depending on how long the student has or how much time they will spend in school. Similarly, the repayment schedule isn’t fixed, it also depends on some factors which we’ll look at shortly.

Things to note before applying for a student loan

  • Your interest starts counting the day you take the loan.
  •  The terms and conditions on the student loan are subject to change
  • You will start your repayment only when you earn a certain amount.
  • The amount you repay back on a monthly basis solely depends on how much you earn.

N.B: There are different terms for different students, for example;

Those who are 25 years of age or older without any contacts from their parents or family are expected to apply as estranged students’’.

However, students from Scotland, Northern Ireland, or Wales have a different application process.

We will go into more details about student loans later in this post.

Read Also: GRANTS FOR PARENTS: A Comprehensive 2021 List (Updated)

How to login for Student Finances

Although it may be a different ball game entirely for some platforms, the steps below gives you a pretty basic routine most platforms provide when you need to apply/login for student Finances.

First, you need to Sign up and register with your correct details.

Secondly, read and follow up newsletters from the Student finance platforms. After which you would need to track and follow up on your application.

Thirdly, Upload or update your personal information which will include your application details. This also includes resetting your password.

Now that all is set, you can apply for a student loan/grant. And that’s regardless of whether you are a new or continuing student. In other words, both categories of students are eligible.

However, let’s look at more details about this below; strictly for loans though.

New full-time students

Here, new full-time students can apply for a student loan (tuition fee) and, in some cases, loans that also cover costs of living. Here’s how it works.

The University or College gives you the bills, then the loan is paid directly to them.

For the most part, full-time students could get loans of up to about $9,250. This covers just tuition and other college expenses asides cost of living.

Although in some cases there are options for that, there is a separate application known as the “cost of living loan application.” But in this case, you will only need to provide detailed information about your household income and present financial situation.

The loan is however be paid directly to your account at the beginning of each academic session.

Note: If by any chance you decide to change your location or living arrangement, you will need to inform them with evidence.

Part-time student Finance

Student loans also feature part-time students. So, if you are a part-time student and your part-time courses have an intensity of 25% or more you can get a student finance if you need one. Here, course intensity measures the number of courses you can complete compared to a full-time course. That is to say, comparing your credit unit as a part-time student to that of a full-time student. This is because it will be part of your application process and eligibility.

Furthermore, If you are eligible to apply for a student finance loan, then it is possible to apply alongside for cost of living especially accommodation.  Just like in the full-time courses above, your loan is paid directly to the school. However, it is possible to get up to $6,935 in an academic year.

Meanwhile, in the long run, if there are any changes in your accommodation, it is very important to update it in your student profile.  Evidence would be an added advantage.

Read Also: Small Business Grants in UK (210+ Grants with Guide)

Student Finance Grant

A student grant is a free money awarded to students to fund their studies at a university or College.

In most cases, the federal government or private institutions take it upon themselves to provide these grants. In other words, student grants can be sponsored by anybody; individuals, state government, or even non-governmental organizations.

They are actually not like loans that need to be paid back.

Types of Grants

The U.S Department of Education (ED) offers quite a number of grants for students, especially to those enrolling in a four-year university or college program. Some of these grants are;

  • Federal Pell Grants   
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Grants (FSEOG)
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
  • Teacher Educational Assistance for College and Education (TEACH) Grants

Grant Eligibility

For the most part, a huge percentage of the students’ grants are awarded to students with special financial needs. So chances are, you may not be considered eligible if you do not fall under this category. This is because the major focus of grants is to aid individuals who have real financial needs.

On that note, you may have to undergo tons of screenings just to ensure your details were not falsified.

How to Apply for Student Grants

First, before you can find a grant or loan, you need to be ready to do some sort of writing. This is because, in the application process, you might need to write your proposal and explain why you would want the grant or loan.

Here are a few steps to follow when looking for grants;

#1. Fill out the FAFSA

Both the federal and state governments give out student grants. If you want to find out if you’re qualified or eligible, then you will certainly need to fill out the FAFSA forms. This is because it will help the school analyze and determine the kind of financial aid you are eligible for. This financial aid goes a long way to help students and families who can’t afford the school expenses. Financial aid could actually come in different packages which include work-study grants and so on.                                                                                                                                       

#2. Submit the FAFSA (before deadline)

It is advisable to fill out and submit your grant as quickly as possible. Because the truth is, these grants are very competitive. Most times, selections start on the first date. And more importantly, some attached documents might be needed to submit alongside the form.

Just ensure these are readily available.

#3. Read your financial aid offer

After you have submitted your FAFSA, you will receive financial aid offers from the university or college that accepted you. Meanwhile, that offer is what will determine if you are eligible for any grant and probably the reason why. It is very important to read the terms and conditions of your offer to know if it suits you before accepting it.

Student Finance loan          

A student loan is a type of loan designed to help students pay for their university or college fees. However, student loans’ terms and conditions differ. It is largely dependent on regions, countries, or even individuals. It is also dependent on individuals who are eligible, down to how the loan will be paid back.

Read Also: Government Grants (Detailed Guide)

Availability of federal student loans

Although there are four types of direct loans, it is important to know that the U.S Department of Education is in charge of all the loans.

The 4 types of Available student loan include:

#1. Direct Subsidized Loans

These loans are available and also accessible to undergraduate students who need help financially to cover their higher education or Career.

#2 Direct Unsubsidized Loans

Here, they make loans available for undergraduates, students, and also professional students.

#3 Direct PLUS Loan

This type of loan is offered to graduates and professional students. However, in some cases, the loan can be given to the parents of the undergraduate when the expenses are too much to handle.

The eligibility for this type of loan is not based on financial needs.

#4 Direct Consolidation Loans         

This kind of loan makes it possible for you to put together federal student loans into a single loan.

How to Apply for Student Loan

After you have found the best student loan that suits you well, it is important to apply for it in the proper way because your application is what determines if you will get a loan.

For your application;

First, you need to have all your documents ready. Some of those documents include school information, employment information, financial information (in most cases bank statements).

Another important thing you need to consider when applying is that you need to be sure how much loan you want to request. In other words, how much of the academic year do you want to cover? You also have to specify if you are waiting for any other scholarship or financial aid.

Lastly, make sure every piece of information you provide is true and, if possible, backed up with supporting documents.

But after you submit your student loan application, you will have to check your email regularly for any further information.

How to find student grants and loans

First, it is important to know the kind of grant you need, because this will help you use your time more effectively. The next thing to do is to visit websites that upload grants and loan opportunities and then do a careful analysis to know if it’s the kind of grant you need. For instance, is a website that puts out student grants and loan opportunities. However, most of the grants are for Canada residents and you can only access it with your province or city. which is why I advise you to check out the conditions well before spending your time on a particular grant or loan.

How Many times can you get Student Finance?

You will receive funding for the entirety of your year of study, but if something goes wrong, you will have already used up your extra year of schooling. Two years of prior education: You will be responsible for your own costs during the first year of your course, but you will be eligible for student aid for the subsequent years.

Can I be Refused Student Finance?

Not everyone is qualified for student finance, and it can be quite a shock if you believe you would be, go to university, get your offer, start looking forward to going, and then discover you are not eligible for a student loan.

Does Part Time Work affect Student Finance?

The Department of Student Finance will only consider your personal income. This includes things like savings interest but not money you earn at a side gig while you’re in school. Depending on whether you are considered a “dependent” or “independent” student, they may additionally consider the income you receive from your parents or a spouse.

Is Student Finance based on Parents Income?

If you are a student who depends on your parents financially, both of your incomes will be considered. If you are under the age of 25 and live at home with your parents, you are considered a dependent student.

Do I Put I Live with my Parents on Student Finance?

When determining your eligibility for student aid, the government takes into account with whom you spend the majority of your time. This means that if your parents are divorced, just one of them needs to sign off on your application. It’s not a given that you’re an independent student just because you don’t live with either parent.


Hopefully, this gave you a head-start with regards students’ finances, especially with the loans and grants information. But just in case you need more infos in this regard, you can reach out on the comments section.

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